Seacoast gets busy helping on Day of Caring

Thursday, May 15, 2008

DOVER — Bright yellow T-shirts dotted Dover like dandelions as dozens of volunteers donning the spring “Day of Caring” shirts painted, planted and spread mulch to help out local non-profits.

Volunteers from various local businesses left their keyboards and phones behind Wednesday to take part in the United Way’s 3rd annual Day of Caring.

Julie Cook, who works for Liberty Mutual, said she was happy to leave her desk behind on the sunny day to help the Cocheco Valley Humane Society with some landscaping.

“I actually enjoy doing this kind of thing,” Cook said. “I don’t ever get to do it because I have to sit at a desk all day.”

Cook was just one of more than 800 volunteers to sign up for various projects around the Seacoast, marking the second year in a row that attendance has grown by 100 volunteers.

In Dover, volunteers were sent to work at several different locations, including the Joe Parks Community Garden, HUB Family Resources, the Cocheco Valley Humane Society and Our House for Girls.

A full day’s work by the numerous volunteers around the Seacoast, including more than 400 from Liberty Mutual, amounted to more than $132,600 in volunteer time for local nonprofits, Sue Suter, executive director of the United Way of the Greater Seacoast, said in an official release.

Lisa Mastro, who also works at Liberty Mutual, said the chance to work outside on a nice day was only complimented by knowing her work was helping a good cause.

“These nonprofit places need all the help they can get,” Mastro said.

For many of the volunteers, the Day of Caring has become a regular event.

“This is my third year,” Lisa Couture, who works at Liberty Mutual, said as she took a break from spreading compost near the McConnell Center. “I think it’s a good service to the community, and I like being outside.”

In total, the event coordinated work at 43 nonprofits around the Seacoast, including Portsmouth, Exeter, Greenland, Kingston, Rochester, Seabrook, Strafford and Stratham.

Who is Involved as of 3/15/2008

Project Steering Committee
Betsy Andrews-Parker – Dover Rotary Club
John Baston – Jenesis Gardens & Design
Marilyn Donnelley – Dover Main Street Beautification
Cindy Imbro – Wells Fargo & Dover Rotary Club
Elizabeth Fischer – Dover Resident
Norm Fracassa Landscape Designer
Patrick R. McElhiney – Website Design & Hosting
Joe B. Parks – Dover Resident
Michael Provost – Dover Main Street ED
Connie Roy – Reverie Design
Carol Salava – Masiello Real Estate & Dover Rotary
Doug Steele – Dover Community Services
Herm Stolzenburg – Dover Resident
Judy Von Feldt – Strafford County Master Gardener

In-Kind Supporters As Of 3/15/2008
Alan Crowell – SUR Construction
Attorney Tom Dunnington
BJ Hickman Magic Shows
Cocheco Printworks
Donald & Claire Graham – Weeks Back Street Kitchen
Donna & Phil Rinaldi – Dover Secretarial
Dover Agway – Paul Welch
Dover Chamber of Commerce
Dover Community Services – Paul Talon and Dave Trudell & their hardworking crews
Dr. Ron Henderson DDS
Eva Christensen – Earthtenders, Farmington NH
Foster’s Daily Democrat
GC-AAA-Fences Inc.
Harvey’s Bakery
Jewelry Creations
Lindt Chocolate
Lisa Curtis & Mike Spinelli- Spinelli Companies
Lonza Biologics – Portsmouth NH
Mark LeBrun Excavation
Moe’s of Dover
Officer Chris Meyer – Dover PD Community Service Workers
Parker Humphrey – Central Paint
Rachel Fisher – Kittery resident
Randy Perkins – PSNH
Rolling Green Nursery – Greenland NH
Stephen & Don Purdy – Wiggin Purdy-McCooey-Dion
Steve Joy – Cocheco Parks Associates
UNH Men’s Crew Team
Vachon Trucking & Landscaping – Union NH
Wally Johnson – 56 Self Storage
Walter Fischer – Wolfeboro resident

Volunteers As Of 3/15/2008
Ann Parks – Goss – North Carolina resident
Bob & Lou McCabe – Exeter residents
Bob Steele – Dover Resident
Carol Smack – Barrington Resident – SCMG
Carolyn & Mark Ricker – Dover Residents
Cindy Brown – Portsmouth Resident
Claudette Chambers – Dover Resident
Dana Mitchell – Dover Resident
Deputy Fire Chief Eric Hagman
Dick Pelletiere – Dover Resident
Doug & Lucia Dede – Dover resident
Dover City Manager, Mike Joyal
Dover High School Girls Soccer Team
Dover PD Community Service Workers
Dover Police Charities
Dover Police Chief Anthony Colarusso
Dr. Deb & Dr. Peg – Wellspring Chiropractic
Guy Marshall – Portsmouth Resident
Hanna Jacoby – Dover Resident
Jack Buckley – Dover Housing Authority
Jaidyn Roy – Dover Resident
Jason Desjardin – Dover Resident
Jeff Depolio – Dover Resident
Jerry Reece – Dover Resident
Jim Berry – Rollinsford Resident – SCMG
Jim Kageleiry – Dover Resident
Jim Meyer & Eileen Riccio-Coco Beach Florida
Jim Verschueren – Dover Adult Learning Center
Joanne Dodge – Dover resident
Karen Drapaniotis – Brentwood Resident
Karen Mairs – Schooner House Inn
Kathy Forbes – Dover resident
Krista Hoppe – Linewebber & Griffin Insurance
Linda Dodier – Somersworth resident
Malcolm McNeill – Durham Resident
Mary Lou Campbell – Durham Resident – SCMG
May 1st Community Clean-up Crew
Mayor Scott Meyers & Dover City Council
Noreen Gaetjens – Lee Resident – SCMG
Peter Widmark – Dover Resident
Robert J. McCabe, Jr. – Dover Resident
Ron Burd – Dover resident
Stephen Roy – Dover Resident
Theresa Taylor – Dover resident
Tom & Doreen Munson & Crew
Tony McManus – Dover Resident
USCG Cutter TAHOMA crew – Kittery Maine

Financial Supporters As Of 3/15/2008
Alice Alden
Arthur Corte
BJ Rohrbacher
Christine Marshall – Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin
Dennis Ciotti
Dennis Munson
Dover Days Inn
Dover Main Street Beautification Committee
Dr. Karelitz, DDS
Dr. Kennedy, DDS
Durham Garden Club
Hanna Jacoby
Jack & Sharon Buckley
Jim Kageleiry
Jody Low, D.D.S. Family Dentistry
Laurie Widmark
LauraLee LeBel – Center for Academic Assessment
Lorraine & Steve Goren
Maryanne Wentworth
Moira Forbes and Jared Hughs
Robert C. Carrier, Contractor
Rotary Club of Dover NH
Strafford County Master Gardeners (SCMG)
Wayne, Elizabeth & Wally Mezitt – Weston Nursery

Dover Rotary Club matches donations for Joe B. Parks Riverwalk Public Gardens


News Release


Contact: Pres. Eliot Lazenby – 740-4600
Date: December 6, 2007


Dover Rotary Club presented a check in the amount of $1,700 to Dover Main Street this week as the first part of a matching grant to support the downtown beautification project.

Named in honor of Dover’s renowned gardener, Joe Parks, the garden will feature rhododendrons and plantings from his extensive six-acre garden. The groundwork has begun to transform the walkways along the Cocheco River running from the Central Avenue Bridge, under the Chestnut Street Bridge and behind Dover Housing Authority’s senior housing complex.

Dover Rotary pledged to support the project, estimated to cost up to $50,000 with matching grant funds of up to $4,000. Thanks to other in-kind donations, volunteer labor the project costs are closer to $12,000.

Dover Rotarians are partnering with Dover Main Street and the City of Dover Community Services to make this garden a reality and preserve a special piece of Dover’s history.

As a service club committed to improving the community, Dover Rotary participated in hands-on activities, fundraising and other downtown beautification projects such as the Rotary Park and Rotary Pavilion. Funds are also used for a “back to school” project, shoe and boots fund for needy families, Santa calling, senior holiday visits and scholarship programs.

Groups pitching in to help with Dover riverwalk vision

By LESLIE MODICA Democrat Staff Writer
Friday, November 23, 2007

DOVER — Crew members of the Coast Guard will be wearing several different hats over the next month as they volunteer for a variety of local nonprofits.

Volunteers from the Portsmouth-based U.S. Coast Guard cutter Tahoma will be providing much-needed heavy labor for the Joe B. Parks Community Garden Monday as part of the volunteer program. Coast Guard members will spread stone dust, bark mulch and move compost to help finish the first phase of the project before winter.

The community garden volunteer effort is part of a broader project coordinated by United Way of the Greater Seacoast and the Ageless Dreamers Foundation. Coast Guard members are volunteering for several local nonprofits, including Dover Main Street, Dover’s Children Center, the Bell Center, Cocheco Valley Humane Society and Dover Adult Learning until the end of December while their ship is overhauled.

Coast Guard Lt. JG Sean Norris said a list of volunteer opportunities was posted at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where the crew is based, and crew members have been able to choose which projects they would like to volunteer for.

Coast Guard members arrived at the Joe B. Parks Community Garden Tuesday to begin the work, but were unable to do the work because of heavy snowfall. The volunteers instead spent the day at the Dover Children’s Center.

Before the snow began, though, Parks took the opportunity to thank the volunteers and the community for their efforts on the garden.

“I feel embarrassed that it has been named after Joe Parks,” Parks said. “At this point, it’s the Dover Community Garden.” Dover Main Street began work on the community garden in September after City Council approved a resolution to name the project after Parks, who has been visible in the community through volunteer work and his own garden for years. Parks designed the new community garden and donated more than 100 plants from his own garden to the project.

Dear Community Member

Dear Community Member:

Each year, the Dover Main Street program continues its mission to keep downtown beautiful, clean, and a destination for residents, businesses, and visitors. Rarely do we have a chance to make history but this year we do!

Dover Main Street, in partnership with the Dover Rotary Club and City of Dover Community Services, will be creating a public garden along the Cocheco River in the center of Dover with rhododendrons and plantings from Dover’s own Joe Parks, and we think you will want to be a part of it!

Few people know, as they travel past Joe’s home on a secluded road in Dover, that they are passing a six-acre garden that has been proposed for inclusion in the Smithsonian Institution landmark gardens. Joe, a past president of the Massachusetts Rhododendron Society, has developed over 30 rhododendron hybrids specifically for our climate.

The ground work has begun and soon the walkways along the Cocheco River will be transformed in several phases. This quarter of a mile of public space, running from the Central Avenue Bridge, under the Chestnut Street bridge (with its murals) and behind Dover Housing Authority’s senior housing complex, will feature not only plantings but also some of Joe’s original sculpture from his garden.

This is no little project – we estimate the cost at over $50,000. Fortunately we have a wonderful group of volunteers including Master Gardener, Tree Stewards and donors of materials and labor that we expect will take care of 75% of this cost In fact, they’ve already put in over 400 hours, planning, prepping, designing & planting the space.

This leaves only about $12,000 in actual cash needed for materials and future maintenance. Dover Rotary Club has already pledged $4000 of this balance. Attorney Tom Dunnington is working up the details of a trust fund to keep the area beautiful for many generations to enjoy.

We hope that you will help us preserve this piece of history in your backyard by making a financial contribution to the Joe B. Parks Public Garden Project c/o Dover Main Street Program at the address listed below. Contributions of time and materials are also most welcome. All contributions are tax deductible as permitted by law.

Best Regards,

Elizabeth Fischer, Steering Committee Chair
Steering Committee:
• Betsy Andrews-Parker • Dover Rotary • John Batson – Jenesis Gardens & Design LLC • Marilyn Donnelley • Dover Main Street Beautification Committee • Cindy Imbro -Wells Fargo & Dover
Rotary • Norm Fracassa Landscape Designer • Patrick McElhiney – • Joe B. Parks – Dover resident • Michael Provost – Dover Main Street Executive Director • Gerry Reece – Riverside Rest Home & Dover Rotary • Connie Roy – Reverie Design • Carol Salava -Masiello Real Estate & Dover Rotary • Doug Steele – City of Dover Community Services • Henn Stolzenburg • Dover resident • Judy Von Feldt – Stafford County Master Gardener

Items needed for project
Cash Donations
Team Leaders for Beds D, F, G, H, 1& J
Workebees for potting & planting parties
Crews to spread bark mulch & compost
Team Leader for mural under Chestnut
Street bridge
Load of soil
Hay bales & s takes
Experienced pruners to shape junipersand prune trees & shrubs
Snacks and water for workerbees
Grant writer
Contact for Eagle Scout Program
Volunteers for spring plantings
Person to coordinate possible time capsule planting
Small dump truck to pick up materials
Person(s) to look into painting of wall on building across the river
Irrigation system contractor
Strong crew members to move granite

In- Kind Supporters as of 11/3/07
Eva Christensen-Earthtenders- Farmington NH
Lindt Chocolate
Harvey’s Bakery
Alan Crowell-SUR Construction
Vachon Trucking & Landscaping-Union NH
Moe’s of Dover
Donna & Phil Rinaldi- Dover Secretarial
Dover Chamber of Commerce
Lonza Biologics-Portsmouth NH
Jewelry Creations
Dr. Ron Henderson DDS
Dover Community Services: Paul Talon and
Dave Trudell & their hardworking crews
GC-AAA• Fences, Inc
BJ Hickman Magic Shows
Cocheco Printworks
Attorney Tom Dunnington
Rolling Green Nursery-Greenland NH
Fosters Daily Democrat
Dover Agway-Paul Welch

Volunteers as of 11/3/07
Karen Drapaniotis- Brentwood resident
Mary-Lou Carpenter- Durham resident- SCMG
Malcolm McNeill- Durham resident
Mike Spinelli- Spinelli Cinemas
Hanna Jacoby- Dover resident
Tony McManus-Dover resident
Stephen Roy-Dover resident
Claudette Chambers-Dover resident
Jeff Depolio-Dover resident
Darla Mitchell-Dover Resident
Cindy Brown-Portsmouth resident
Jerry Reece-Dover Resident
Jaklyn Roy- Dover Resident
Dover Police Chief Anthony Colarusso
Dover PO Community Service Workers
May 1″ Community Clean-up Cr9YO’
Jack Buckley- Dover Housing Authority
Jim Verschueren- Dover Adult Learning Center
Guy Marshall-Portsmouth resident
Tim Noonan Construction
Jim Kageleiry-Dover resident
Bob Steele- Dover resident
Deputy Fire Chief Eric Hagman
Dick Pollotioro-Dover Resident
Jim Meyer & Eileen Ricdo-Coco Beach Florida
Robert J. McCabe, Jr.-Dover resident
Mayor Scott Myers & Dover City Council
Jason Desjardin-Dover resident
Krista Hoppe- Linewebber & Giffin Insurance
Carol Smack• Barrington resident- SCMG
Dover High School Girls Soccer Team
Peter Widmark-Dover Resident
Noreen Gaeljens- Lee resident• SCMG
Jim Berry- Rollinsford resident- SCMG
Dover City Manager, Mike Joyal
Dr. Deb & Dr. Peg-Wellspring Chiropractic

Financial supporters as of 11/3/07
Rotary Club of Dover NH
Strafford County Master Gardeners (SCMG)
Dover Main Street Beautification Committee

Volunteers pitch in to prep Dover’s new Joe B. Parks community garden

By JASON CLAFFEY Democrat Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DOVER— Volunteers from Dover Main Street helped rake leaves, spread mulch, and turn over soil Saturday morning at the Joe B. Parks Community Garden to prepare for the addition of 100 plants and three sculptures along the Cocheco River downtown.

Beth Fischer, her purple sweatshirt specked with dirt and sleeves rolled up, led the cleanup effort.

“We’re trying to get more people out here… it’s a wonderful space,” she said. “It’s a piece of history.”

The plants and sculptures will be donated by Joe Parks, 92, a well-known local horticulturist. Parks has an expansive six-acre garden in the backyard of his Dover home on Long Hill Road. He has been asked to register his garden with the Smithsonian Institution.

Parks designed the plans for the planting of rhododendrons, ground covers, jack-in-the-pulpits, trillium, hosta, begonia, and tree peonies, as well as the three sculptures. He will donate one of his own bronze sculptures, a boulder with two hands emerging titled “Mankind.”

A variety of local businesses and organizations made about $40,000 in financial contributions to the project, and all the labor is being done free of charge by volunteers.

The garden, which was previously known as the Cocheco Riverwalk Public Garden, was renamed in September after Parks by a City Council resolution. The 1,300-foot garden starts at 400 Central Ave. near the Spinelli Building and snakes its way to the Chesnut Street Bridge and Dover Housing Authority’s Senior Housing Complex. “It’s marvelous,” said Hanna Jacoby, a volunteer who helped rake leaves. Patrick McElhiney, a member of the Dover Main Street Planning Commission, said the volunteer group also torched weeds as a preventive measure. The group also discussed specific design plans for individual plants. Contributions to the garden can be made to the Joe B. Parks Public Garden Project c/o Dover Main Street Program.

Parks Garden work needs volunteers in Dover

By LESLIE MODICA Democrat Staff Writer
Friday, October 19, 2007

DOVER — It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Volunteers from Dover Main Street and the community will be gathering for a “planting party” at the Joe B. Parks Community Garden on Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m.

Volunteers will meet outside 400 Central Avenue, the Spinelli Building, to spread mulch, break up the ground and kill invasive plants. Joe Parks will also be at the site to talk about design plans.

“We’d love to have some additional volunteers,” said Beth Fischer, who has been leading the project for Main Street.

The City Council passed a resolution in September to rename the Cocheco Riverwalk Public Garden after the well-known horticulturist. Dover Main Street is coordinating work on the garden, which will feature at least 100 plants and three sculptures from Park’s personal garden on Long Hill Road. Parks has designed the park, which will be built entirely by volunteers at no cost to the city.

Fischer said volunteers should dress appropriately and bring work gloves and tools, such as shovels and rakes, if possible.

The event is weather permitting.

A growing legacy in Dover; Parks’ plants to beautify riverfront garden

Monday, October 8, 2007

DOVER — As Joe Parks discusses the intricacies of hybridizing plants, proudly perched on a bench in his “secret garden,” his passion is contagious. So when Dover Main Street approached him about being the namesake for a proposed community garden, the honor was overwhelming.

“It’s impossible to get over the delight,” Parks said. “It’s a real thrill that just does not go away. Maybe I’ll get used to it like you get used to a new baby in the family, but I’m not sure.”

The 91-year-old Dover resident is more than just a namesake for the garden. Parks is personally designing the garden and at least 100 plants are being transferred from his six-acre Long Hill Road garden to the riverfront public garden between the Central Avenue and Chestnut Street bridges.

The 1,300-foot-long garden will showcase a hedge of holly along nearby residential properties as well was pockets of hosta, begonia and tree peonies. Parks has also made a point to include native New Hampshire plants, such as jack-in-the-pulpits and trillium.

Each of the plants were specifically chosen not only for their bloom, but their aesthetic contribution throughout the year.

“A garden is a 12-month thing,” Parks said. “The flowers are just a peak.”

The plants were chosen more strategically than simply by aesthetics, though. Each plant is also climate appropriate and requires little maintenance.

“One of the things about Joe’s plants is that they are appropriate to our climate,” Beth Fischer, Dover Main Street coordinator for the Joe B. Parks Public Garden project, said. “I wanted a project that would be stable, and plants that would be drought tolerant. Each time we choose a plant, we make sure that it has those kinds of criteria because we don’t want to saddle the city with a project that is fussy.”

Since moving to New Hampshire in the early 1970s, Parks has become known for his ability to hybridize warm weather and fragile plants, notably rhododendrons, to both sustain the New England environment and resist insects. He served as president of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Rhododendron Society from 1994 to 1996 and received the silver medal award from the organization in 2006. Parks has also been asked to register his garden with the Smithsonian Institution.

Parks said he has hybridized hundreds of rhododendrons, but he has only registered about 20, and is working on paperwork for about 20 more. Many sit in his garden, labeled with names given by Parks’, such as Laura W., named after the First Lady, and Big George, which Parks said he named long before President Bush took office.

Although he is well known for his work in horticulture, Parks said he has never taken a single course in the subject and has worked most of his life in business and real estate, managing property and restoring houses around Dover. But the hobby has been a part of his life since he was a child, drawing inspiration from a family farm in Oklahoma.

Parks began hybridizing plants while living in Virginia during the middle of the century, but his work picked up pace after moving to Dover, he said. Parks began work on his garden, nestled among what was then dense forest, before construction on his house was completed. The well-planned garden has now expanded to a series of small gardens connected by a winding pathway. Parks said the extensive garden has been manageable because he just focuses on each individual garden at a time.

Parks hosts visitors and gives tours of his garden throughout the year, but most come during the spring when most of the plants are in bloom. But he does receive an occasional request to see the garden during the nontraditional part of the year. He said he guided a group of a visitors through the garden in the middle of last winter, because they wanted to see the “backbone” of the garden.

The riverwalk park is not the first garden in Dover to take its inspiration from Parks. The Woodman Institute solicited his help to plant a garden near the museum, and although the project remains stalled, Parks said it has been one of his favorite projects.

He has also offered a matching grant to the Adult Learning Center and contributed to the Garrison Players.

Parks said he lives by the philosophy of his father, a minister, who said “the world doesn’t owe you anything, you owe it.” The philosophy, he said, has made him realize there are always others who make it possible to achieve his accomplishments.

Dover to rename riverwalk garden in honor of Joe Parks

By LESLIE MODICA Democrat Staff Writer
Friday, September 28, 2007

DOVER — Dover residents will soon be able to view Joe Parks’ community garden as they stroll down the riverfront. City Council approved a resolution to rename the Cocheco Riverwalk Public Garden in honor of Parks, whose community garden has been a staple of Dover for years.

Dover Main Street is organizing the establishment of the garden, which will feature Parks’ world-famous hybrid rhododendrons and three sculptures, two bronze and one granite, all donated by Parks.

The park is being built at no cost to the city. In addition to Park’s donations of rhododendrons and sculptures, he is contributing blueberry bushes to be planted along the pathway. The Dover Rotary club has also donated $4,000 to the project.

Ninety-two-year-old Parks has hybridized more than 22 types of rhododendrons and was asked by the Smithsonian to register his six-acre garden, which he has made available to the public in Dover. He is also formerly the president of the Massachusetts Rhodedendron Society.

The garden is part of a larger project to beautify the riverfront and extends along the Cocheco River from the Central Avenue bridge to the Chestnut Street bridge. The rhododendrons, which are specifically hybridized for disease prevention, will provide a burst of color to the area, Dover Main Street member Beth Fischer said.